Friday, June 02, 2006

Judge refuses government request to dismiss hearings in NSA spying

SCOTUSblog explains:
A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to make a legal defense in a public court hearing of the National Security Agency's program of communications monitoring during the war on terrorism -- a program under challenge in federal courts across the nation. Senior U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of Detroit on Wednesday denied a Department request to put off a hearing on the merits of a legal challenge in her Court until after she had ruled on the government's claim that the case must be dismissed based on the "state secrets privilege."
That is a significant rebuff to the Department's efforts, now spread out in a number of cases, to put a swift end to claims in court that President Bush acted illegally and unconstitutionally in authorizing the NSA, after the 2001 terrorist attacks, to monitor calls or e-mails suspected of being to or from terrorists.…

The judge gave no explanation for these actions, although her order did imply some discontent with the government's failure, after two postponements, to respond to the summary judgment issue. It is the denial of the stay that the Department presumably could attempt to attack on appeal.
Looks like the imperial presidency is about to meet its match.

In the mean time, U.S. Wants Companies to Keep Web Usage Records:
The Justice Department is asking Internet companies to keep records on the Web-surfing activities of their customers to aid law enforcement, and may propose legislation to force them to do so.
Farewell to privacy, at least until someone who respects the American public takes charge.